Author Topic: Mortal and Venial Sins: UnOrthodox?  (Read 274 times)

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Offline LivenotoneviL

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Mortal and Venial Sins: UnOrthodox?
« on: July 23, 2017, 09:19:08 PM »
Hi all,
after my other post, another question entered into my mind that I wanted to ask:
Is the Catholic idea regarding mortal and venial sins heterodox in terms of dogma?

After bringing this subject up to a Catholic priest one time, regarding my questioning about the Catholic origin of mortal and venial sins, said that nothing has ever changed and it is compatible with Orthodox understanding.

Simply put, all sin is a selfish and prideful act in which you as an individual put yourself above God or others, and as such, you weaken your relationship with God. When one commits a sin that is of significant gravity at a certain point, it causes ipso facto excommunication from the Church - which, in a sense, breaks your relationship with God. This is what a mortal sin is - it is a sin that causes excommunication, which can only be resolved via the Sacrament of Penance. As there is no salvation outside the Church, you can't be saved unless you reconcile this sin with God, because you are outside the Church. It is also why it is sacrilegious to take Communion in the state of mortal sin, because you can't receive it as you are not a member of the Church until you confess it. A statement of excommunication or anathematization is simply a statement that you are in a state of mortal sin - nothing else, nothing more.

In what way is this incompatible with the Eastern Orthodox Church? Is it simply a bad disciplinary way spiritually, or in what way is this incompatible with Orthodox doctrine? How does one interact with the Eucharist in the Orthodox Church? Can one commit sacrilege by communicating unworthily?

Offline michaelus

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Re: Mortal and Venial Sins: UnOrthodox?
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2017, 09:31:18 PM »
1 John 5:16-17
Quote
If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.  All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.
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Offline LivenotoneviL

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Re: Mortal and Venial Sins: UnOrthodox?
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2017, 10:33:12 PM »
1 John 5:16-17
Quote
If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.  All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.

Also this.

Offline xOrthodox4Christx

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Re: Mortal and Venial Sins: UnOrthodox?
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2017, 11:06:56 PM »
St. Nektarios of Aegina uses the distinction. But most of the Fathers do not, and as a whole we avoid the distinction. The Western Orthodox Churches use it sometimes too, I believe.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2017, 11:07:28 PM by xOrthodox4Christx »
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Online Asteriktos

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Re: Mortal and Venial Sins: UnOrthodox?
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2017, 11:09:35 PM »
Orthodox don't see all sins as the same, but also don't (as a general rule) go so far in pushing them into two well-defined categories. Orthodox sometimes say that Orthodoxy is more pastoral and Catholicism more juridical, which I think has something to it but can also be exaggerated to the point of caricature. The main thing seems to be: repentance is like acknowledging that you have an illness in need of a cure, and communion (and grace in general) is 'medicine of immortality' that can heal you. Sometimes this healing requires stricter or harsher treatment, sometimes gentler treatment.

Also, fwiw I posted some quotes from St. Jerome, St, Ambrose and St. Augustine in this thread on the passage from 1 Jn. 5. Here's how a modern Orthodox saint interpreted the passage:

Quote
"He shall not pray for a sin unto death. But Why? Because man with his entire being, soul, and consciousness has voluntarily entered into sin and remains there consciously and voluntarily, and does not want to renounce it and hate it. This is already a 'second death' from which one cannot resurrect. On such a man, God neither desires nor wants to forcefully impose repentance...  If he were to do that, He would cease to be Love. Ceasing to be love, God would cease to be God. That is the reason why the holy Seer of Mysteries advises not to pray for a sin unto death. In this manner we receive directions from God concerning what to pray to God for and what not to pray for."

-- St. Justin Popovich, Commentary on the Epistles of St. John the Theologian, p. 79
« Last Edit: July 23, 2017, 11:10:50 PM by Asteriktos »
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Offline Sharbel

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Re: Mortal and Venial Sins: UnOrthodox?
« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2017, 12:12:31 AM »
Is the Orthodox teaching on sins and transgressions equivalent to the Catholic teaching on mortal and venial sins, respectively?
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Offline Vanhyo

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Re: Mortal and Venial Sins: UnOrthodox?
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2017, 06:32:31 AM »
Some use the term mortal sin to distinguish from lesser sin, though I never heard someone using the word "venial"

Offline Indocern

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Re: Mortal and Venial Sins: UnOrthodox?
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2017, 07:10:20 AM »
Orthodox don't see all sins as the same, but also don't (as a general rule) go so far in pushing them into two well-defined categories. Orthodox sometimes say that Orthodoxy is more pastoral and Catholicism more juridical, which I think has something to it but can also be exaggerated to the point of caricature. The main thing seems to be: repentance is like acknowledging that you have an illness in need of a cure, and communion (and grace in general) is 'medicine of immortality' that can heal you. Sometimes this healing requires stricter or harsher treatment, sometimes gentler treatment.

Also, fwiw I posted some quotes from St. Jerome, St, Ambrose and St. Augustine in this thread on the passage from 1 Jn. 5. Here's how a modern Orthodox saint interpreted the passage:

Quote
"He shall not pray for a sin unto death. But Why? Because man with his entire being, soul, and consciousness has voluntarily entered into sin and remains there consciously and voluntarily, and does not want to renounce it and hate it. This is already a 'second death' from which one cannot resurrect. On such a man, God neither desires nor wants to forcefully impose repentance...  If he were to do that, He would cease to be Love. Ceasing to be love, God would cease to be God. That is the reason why the holy Seer of Mysteries advises not to pray for a sin unto death. In this manner we receive directions from God concerning what to pray to God for and what not to pray for."

-- St. Justin Popovich, Commentary on the Epistles of St. John the Theologian, p. 79

In my opinion we must not pray for mortal sins to not defile ourselves with the same sin by praying for this person.